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Review of Theatrical Performance: Musical 'Hamilton'

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On September 19th at the Orpheum Theatre, I saw Hamilton, The show follows the remarkable life story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Its creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, retells the tale using rap music and lyrics that tackle even political deal-making: “Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room/Diametric’ly opposed, foes/ They emerge with a compromise, having opened doors that were/Previously closed/Bros.”

This cast, which calls itself the #AndPeggyTour, lives up to the material. As revolutionary Hercules Mulligan and other characters, Brandon Louis Armstrong finds room for pizzazz within a single beat, as if he’s swinging his rhythm while everyone else is playing it straight. Harriman and Sloan seem to find and illuminate each note’s Platonic ideal, and Harriman makes her character’s sweetness, goodness, and forgiveness into a fortress of strength.

The theme of building a legacy that will stand the test of time is something that consumes Hamilton throughout his life, and by extension, the play. During the war, Hamilton is willing to die as long as it is for a cause that means something to him. The idea that “history has its eyes on you” haunts many of the characters. It is this idea that causes Hamilton to risk his marriage by going public with his affair, in the hope that he could preserve his legacy by controlling how the story of his dishonor is told. The sense that everyone has a history and a legacy is what drives the characters’ ethical lives, and encourages them to work for what they believe in. This theme is echoed time and again in an oft-uttered mantra of Hamilton’s, ‘I’m not throwing away my shot’—his shot being his one chance at creating a dazzling legacy.

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In the two Cabinet Battles between Jefferson and Hamilton, the men wield handheld microphones. This more informal and performative image, of two men in colonial garb holding handheld microphones, is historically anachronistic and represents the ways that the struggles between these politicians are meant to mimic the struggle between two battling rappers. Hamilton, in its use of rap music to tell a historical story, seeks to represent the struggles of the original Founding Fathers through more recognizable and accessible contemporary aesthetics. Thus, the two men holding handheld microphones and acting as though they are ‘freestyling’ their political positions pull modern viewers into the narrative in a playful way

Although a few characters have monologues in which they tell a part of the story from their point of view, the majority of the play is told from Alexander Hamilton’s perspective.

the show is ‘an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining’. The costumes and set reflect the period, with ‘velvet frock coats and knee britches. The set …is a wooden scaffold against exposed brick; the warm lighting suggests candlelight.[4] The musical is mostly sung and rapped all the way through, with little dialogue isolated outside of the musical score.

which uses a turntable of concentric rings that can move at different speeds and in different directions. In one moment, Hamilton (Julius Thomas III) is at a desk on the opposite side of the circle from his wife, Eliza (Julia K. Harriman), and son, Philip (Rubén J. Carbajal, reprising his role from the national tour’s 2017 stop at the Orpheum), who are at a piano. The circle rotates, but the two sides of the household will never get any closer to each other; they’re like the hands of a broken watch. All in all, Hamilton is a fantastic historical play and I highly recommend it.

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Review of Theatrical Performance: Musical ‘Hamilton’. (2023, March 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from
“Review of Theatrical Performance: Musical ‘Hamilton’.” Edubirdie, 01 Mar. 2023,
Review of Theatrical Performance: Musical ‘Hamilton’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2023].
Review of Theatrical Performance: Musical ‘Hamilton’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Mar 01 [cited 2023 May 30]. Available from:
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